Monday, February 16

New Games Company Checklist

So, as I'm sure you're aware by now, I'm aiming to get back into games publishing this year. It'll be small scale, just a small number (50 or 100) of hand-made, signed copies of a simple card game (Zombology or Dragon Dance). There's a bot-load of things I need to do before the game is ready to sell, so I need to spell those out and then start working through them. This list is not necessarily in order, but some of the later things depend on earlier ones. I'm not going to do a Gantt chart though, that would be too much like work.

  1. Choose a company name. Reiver Games is gone, I need something different. I'd quite like something that alludes to a cautionary tale as Reiver Games went too far too fast and crashed and burned as a result. I was thinking Daedalus Games, but there's something very similar already. Jack in the Box Games was another idea, for obvious reasons.
  2. Register the company with HMRC. Fun.
  3. Set up a company bank account with some cash in it. I'll need this before registering a website or buying any materials.
  4. Choose which game. Almost certainly Zombology, but I'm not quite ready to commit just yet.
  5. Website and PayPal account. Need to do 1 and 3 before this.
  6. Price up the components. I'm aiming to sell the game for £10, which means I want to spend about £5 per copy on components and printing, so I've got money left over for marketing, website costs, etc. I'll need to get quotes for the raw materials and printing, and then work out how many copies I need to make to make it affordable. More copies make each individual one cheaper, but require more of my time to make, market and sell, plus more cash outlay at the beginning.
  7. Finish designing the game. Relies on 4, naturally.
  8. Do the art and graphic design. I can't finish this until I've finished 7, but I can definitely make a start as the games aren't going to change dramatically between now and release. Doing the art and graphic design is both a challenge to get myself to learn new skills and also a way to save money. The art on Sumeria cost a few thousand Euros, I can't afford that if I'm making 50 copies that I want to sell at £10 each.
  9. Buy the raw materials. For Zombology this is just the box card (I'm making the boxes myself, these are going to be lovingly hand-crafted games!). For Dragon Dance there's the box card, dice and wooden counters, plus some plastic baggies.
  10. Get the printing done. Obviously this relies on 8. I'll try StressFreePrint first as they were who I used for Border Reivers and the first hand-made edition of It's Alive!
  11. Start assembling the boxes, which relies on 9. Boxes are pretty easy to make and I can make these up ahead of time to save time once the artwork arrives.
  12. Start cutting out and assembling the games.
  13. Start taking cash, relies on 5. Unlike KickStarter, I don't want to start taking cash until I've got the games pretty much ready to ship.
  14. Start shipping finished games.
  15. Marketing. It sounds a bit late in the day to start marketing a product, but unlike KickStarter where the aim is to get people all hyped up before you've got anything concrete to give them, I will be aiming to stay ahead of my orders once i've cleared the initial pre-order backlog. With each game taking an hour to make and free time at a premium I'll want to drum up some trade after I've sent all the pre-orders and built up a small stock. I'll still be blogging throughout (which also counts as marketing!) and I might get lucky and get another blog post picked up by BoardGameGeek News or reddit which would be a bonus in terms of exposure.
  16. Fame and fortune! (As if!)

My goal is to get a decent chunk of the way through this list before all the copies are pre-ordered! I've now got seven pre-orders and I still haven't confirmed which game it will be! Bizarre.

In other news, I made it along to Newcastle Gamers again this week which was great and had a second Games Night in a row! Things are picking up.


GamesBook said...

Re #1 - (appeals to my punniness) or (registered but not used)

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Derek,

Eurydice! I like what you've done there!
Greek mythology? Check.
Cautionary tale? Check.
Dice? Check.
Hint of euro-games? Check.

Very tempting. But then I might have to do Dragon Dance first as it has dice in it.